Based almost half way between the West and East coasts of Sri Lanka, Ella is a small bustling town set amongst the country’s famous tea hills. Situated in the Badulla district and 1,041 metres above sea level, Ella offers beautiful views of lush green valleys, rainforests and surrounding mountains.
Without a doubt one of my favourite places I visited whilst in Sri Lanka, Ella has a nice tourist buzz without yet being too discovered.
One of the best things about Ella is the copious amount of activities and attractions to do whilst you’re there. Read on to hear about my experiences, which I’ve narrowed down to a top five.
- Visit a tea plantation
After travelling, what better way to wind down whilst taking in a key part of Sri Lankan culture, than enjoying a tour of how our beloved cuppa is made. Learn all about the tea process at the numerous tea factories available in the area.
We went to the Kinellan Tea Estate which gave a whistle-stop tour of the tea journey, from plucking the leaf to the packaging, and the different machinery used to create the best tea. Whilst I found this very interesting, I felt our tour was a little rushed, so do make sure you do your research and find a factory which suits you. Or, even better, go to a few!
- Take in the impressive stature of Nine Arch Bridge
Not only a wonderous sight to behold for its sheer size and structure, but also its history. Nine Arch Bridge demonstrates the impact of Britain’s colonial expansion in Sri Lanka, and its strong links to the railway. Built by a local Ceylonese builder, P. K. Appuhami in consultation with British engineers, the bridge has become an increasingly popular tourist attraction due to its innovative architectural qualities and the striking greenery which surrounds the stone arches.
Risk sitting on the edge if you dare, take some pics on the empty track, or if you’re lucky capture a train as it comes through the tunnel.
- Take a hike up Little Adam’s Peak
A rather easy climb for such spectacular views. There’s no wonder this spot is so popular, as compared to its older brother Little Adam’s Peak is a doddle (…although I did still find myself out of breath). I suggest going in the morning to avoid the crowds and get a clear view.
- Have lunch at 98 Acres, Resort & Spa
If you don’t fancy a morning hike, you can still appreciate Little Adam’s Peak and its views from a distance whilst enjoying a scrumptious lunch at this 4-star hotel. Or, perhaps refuel yourself on your way down! Although they charge £150 per night for a standard room, the resorts restaurant offers a far more reasonable dining experience for anyone to enjoy.
Here you can see me about to tuck in to one of their freshly-made sandwiches for just £6. And with a view like that to accompany it, there’s no room to complain.
- Take a Sri Lankan Cooking Class
Such a fun and interesting experience! One of my favourite things about Sri Lanka has been the food, which I couldn’t bear to leave behind, so when I noticed a sign advertising a cooking class, I thought why not.
If you love the food as much as me, or just want to learn a bit more about Sri Lankan culture, I highly recommend going to Ella Spice Garden. Run by a friendly local with impeccable English, you’ll learn all about the spices and other ingredients which go into a fantastic Sri Lankan curry, cooking 5 different curries in total. And then, the best bit, getting to eat it all at the end!
TOP TIP: Get your own transport. Whether this be a bike or a tuk tuk, hiring your own transport will mean you really get the most out of your trip to Ella. I had neither, which meant I missed out on some of Ella’s waterfalls (Ravana Falls and Ellawala) and the opportunity to see more tea factories. Just make sure you get a licence sorted before you arrive, and you’re golden.